Friday, April 23, 2004

how to stop reading this weblog

If you are reading this weblog and plan on continuing to do so, this post isn't really for you. You are cherished and, although you don't know it, all of your page views are being carefully tabulated by underlings that I have hired and you will soon be receiving your allotment of JFW Green Stamps in the mail, which will be redeemable for all kinds of vacation packages and durable goods.

In the nine months that this weblog has existed, a few times* people have become sufficiently disenchanted with or angered by it, or whatever, that they feel compelled to tell me they have stopped reading it. This is fine. However, the way at least a couple people have notified me of this is to e-mail that they are "boycotting" my weblog. People boycotted the Montgomery bus system in the famous beginnings of the Civil Rights movement. People boycott businesses that engage in ugly politics or ugly human rights violations (e.g., sweatshops) in manufacturing their products. Boycotting is a way of trying to influence the practices of a business by refusing to give them your money; although boycotts usually don't succeed, when they do they can be a valuable tool for achieving populist social change.

On the other hand, this weblog is, ultimately, just me and the dorky things I post from time to time. I know I use the organizational language of "JFW" and sometimes claim to have a staff and entourage, but that's supposed to be a reasonably transparent joke. Unlike many other weblogs, I don't have any kind of tracking or statistics service or whatever--the above sentence about green stamps was, again, a joke--so I don't really have any idea how many people, if any, read particular posts. I don't take anything with this weblog very seriously. I recognize that there are bloggers who do consider their weblogs very serious matters, but the general content of mine might suggest that I don't take it--or, for that matter, myself--too awfully seriously.

And so--and I really don't mean to offend anyone by this--if you do sometime feel compelled to let me know that some part of my weblog has turned you off so irreversibly and thoroughly that you'll never read it again, it's fine to e-mail and notify me of this, but you might consider using the phrase "quit reading" rather than "boycott" and reserve the latter term for resoluteness on matters more weighty than JFW.

I mean, and now I'm probably being more frank than I should be, but what's especially weird is to have someone declare they are "boycotting" the weblog because it is "narcissistic." In my mind, anybody who thinks of stopping reading my weblog as "boycotting" has blown my weblog way out of proportion, and then the person goes on to basically accuse me of having some grandiose sense of the place of my weblog in the world. This is akin to the pot calling the stainless steel kettle black. It's just a weblog, really!

* Three? Four? At least one person has done this twice.

Update, next day:A backstage-pass premium subscriber from Tashkent, OH e-mails to say: If i were one to put bumper stickers on my car, mine would read:






No comments: